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Is DisplayPort Digital or Analog?


Digital and analog connectors are used to deliver information via electromagnetic signals. 

These connections use different technologies to transmit the data from the source to the display, resulting in images and audio. While some of the connections carry only video signals, some integrate audio in the same connection.

This article will look at digital and analog signals as well as classify the two most used connectors – DisplayPort and HDMI.

What Are Analog And Digital Signals?

Analog vs Digital Signal

Before we find out if DisplayPort is a digital or analog display, it’s important that we first understand what digital and analog signals are so that we are able to distinguish the two. 

An analog signal is a continuous signal both in value and time. Analog signals are either natural or come naturally. Compared to digital signals, analog signals are best suited for audio transmission, whereas; digital signals are best suited for computers and other digital electronics.

A digital signal is not continuous and the signal is discrete in time and value. Digital signals represent data (in binary numbers) as a sequence but instead of being continuous, the values are separate at any given point. 

In an illustrative diagram, the analog signal is represented by sine waves, and square waves represent the digital signals.

Digitals signals are usually preferred because of their high bandwidth compared to analog signals. They are also not susceptible to interference or any functional degradation despite them having the ability to travel for much longer distances.

While both signals are literally on different ends of the spectrum, it is possible to transmit signals from an analog to a digital subsystem using an ADC (Analog to Digital Converter). Similarly, it is possible to convert signals from a digital to an analog subsystem using a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter)

Is Displayport Digital Or Analog?

Displayport cable pluggin

So, now that we understand these signals let’s answer your question: Is DisplayPort digital or analog?

DisplayPort is a digital display. It was developed in 2006 as an update of the old DVI and VGA connectors.

Displayport comes in two sizes: MiniDisplayPort and the Standard DisplayPort. It is often found on PCs and laptops, and occasionally on TVs.

DisplayPort is available in versions 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4. The latest version, DisplayPort 1.4 supports up to 8K at 60 refresh rates per second and High Dynamic Range (HDR) with a bandwidth of up to 32.4 Gigabytes.

The biggest downside to the DisplayPort is that it cannot transmit ethernet signals. While the greatest advantage is that it allows for the connection of multiple monitors. 

A single DisplayPort can support either 2 monitors at a native resolution of 256  X 1600 or 4 monitors at 1920 x 1200 all at once. In fact, you can daisy-chain up to 6 displays at once if you have a powerful GPU with multiple DP connections.

Is HDMI digital or analog?

HDMI ports in the back of a TV

HDMI is a digital connection used to transfer digital signals from source devices to displays. It’s a replacement for analog connections like the VGA. HDMI is a universal industry standard used by almost all tech and multimedia brands.

While HDMI carries only digital signals, you can connect to an analog device using a converter such as a HDMI-VGA converter . These converters have broad compatibility and allow you to connect to several devices.

High Definition Multimedia Interface looks very similar to the DisplayPort. Perhaps the only physical difference is that there is no locking mechanism on the HDMI connectors. Also, the HDMI features only 19 pins.

However, just like the DisplayPort, it is available in different sizes: Standard (Type A), Mini (Type B), and Micro (Type C). 

Besides the different sizes, it is also available in four distinct types:

  1. Standard HDMI Cable
  2. Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet
  3. High-Speed HDMI Cable
  4. High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet

You must know what each of these cable types is capable of before you choose a suitable HDMI for your device.

DisplayPort vs HDMI: Which is Better?

HDMI and DisplayPort cables

The battle between HDMI and DisplayPort is one we don’t foresee the end of unless significant changes are made to either of the cables. 

So this is our take: DisplayPort and HDMI each have their place. 

What do we mean? 

Even though they both look similar with the difference of just a single pin and technically serve the same function, they are each best suited for their specific functions.

HDMI will always take the trophy when a TV is involved, possibly why nearly every TV comes with HDMI ports, and on some models, multiple HDMI ports.

HDMI is a convenient and easy connection when you want to connect your TV to your other devices like gaming consoles, Blu Ray players, and so forth. And the fact that they support incredibly high resolutions, makes them an excellent choice for home entertainment.

HDMI cable pluggin HDMI port in TV

DisplayPort on the other hand is ideal for users who desire multiple displays, whether for work or gaming. They offer more flexibility and deliver more power, even though they do not carry ethernet signals nor have an eARC feature. DisplayPorts are mainly found on monitors.

It’s easier to continue using the port you found your device with because then you don’t have to go though the torture of deciding which to pick.  However, when you have to choose between the two, this is where the trouble begins. 

You have to critically assess each connection and see which will offer you the most for your needs.

A close-up of black display port cable on a white table

FAQs:

Does DisplayPort carry analog?

No, DisplayPort does not carry analog signals, but with the help of simple adapters, DisplayPort can be compatible with analog devices. 

DP to VGA adapter  is used in this case to connect your DP device with a VGA device (the connection can also be in reverse). However, you will need to have a separate cable to transmit audio signals since VGA only carries video signals.

A Close-up of displayport cable on blue background

Conclusion

DisplayPort is a digital connection. It only carries digital video and audio signals and is best used for gaming and work. 

You will often find a DisplayPort on monitors, but it is not uncommon to find TVs with DP ports as well.

Last update on 2022-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.


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